Category Archives: Christian family

‘Don’t come back’ he told his dad until…

Andrae Brooks, 16, didn’t recognize the man at his door.

“I’m your father,” said the man, who had been in jail for trafficking drugs for most of Andrae’s childhood.

“What do you want?” Andrae retorted.

Awkwardly, Andrae’s father attempted to talk to his estranged son for about 10 minutes before he gave up, saying, “All right, I’m going to come back later.”

“You don’t need to,” Andrae replied, coldly.

Cagey and closed off, Andrae was incredibly gifted at cutting people off and shutting off his feelings toward them.

Born in New Jersey, Andrae never went to church. Because Dad wasn’t in his life, his mom had two jobs to carry the household and leaned heavily on Andrae to take care of his little sister, younger by nine years.

“I didn’t get to play on the basketball team because I always had to pick her up and watch over her. I was the free baby sister,” Andrae says on a Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast. “I loved basketball.”

When Andrae was 14, Dad tried calling him from prison. At 16, Andrae rebuffed Dad at the door. At 18, he didn’t come to the door when his father knocked.

He was guarded, suspicious of others’ motives and ready to fight at the slightest misunderstanding. By choice, he limited his friendships to three all throughout high school.

There were brushes with the supernatural when he was young. On one occasion when walking alone on ice in 14-degree weather, he broke through and should have drowned. But he “popped up” and managed to pull himself out. On another occasion, he hit his head and went unconscious in the pool but miraculously regained consciousness when dragged from the pool, spitting up water and blood and asking what happened.

Andrae avoided drugs because an uncle died from abusing them, and he swore he would never use.

Once he graduated, Andrae was wondering what to do with his life. He was sleeping on his mother’s couch being a “bum.” When his close friend got married and moved to Virginia, he moved in with them. He would do chores to show his appreciation for the free living arrangement.

But when the wife got saved, she invited Andrae to church. He had no intention of going. “If you don’t go, you’ll be on the street,” she replied. Sometimes the harshest of evangelisms work. Thus under the threat of ultimatum, Andrae went to a New Year’s concert and drama activity.

Those Southern folks were strange. He was used to not talking to strangers, not even looking at strangers – the custom of New Jersey. But the church folk from Virginia came up and introduced themselves in a friendly manner. They wouldn’t even let Andrae alone when he got his food. It was awkward.

The Christian rap was corny. But the dramas… Read the rest: Reconciliation with Dad.

Christian artist James Tughan doesn’t blame the cops for the death of his son

James Tughan doesn’t blame the cops for shooting his son after he pointed a (toy) gun at them. James himself had called the police after his adult adopted son, his brain altered by drugs and concussions, had called to threaten James’ life. He recognizes the police were there to protect the innocent.

“I can’t really hold anybody responsible for that except Alex,” James says on a 100 Huntley St. video. “He provoked it”

He could not defuse the family tumult that resulted from the incident, so he now pours his pain into his drawings on paper. An accomplished artist in the realism genre, James explores the fragility of relationships in a world fraught with sin, but at the same time offered hope through the redemption of a loving Savior.

“This is how I deal with this phenomenon,” he says.

James Tughan grew up in a Christian home in Toronto and found faith in Christ, but not all was as it seemed. There were fissures. Unlike many who reject the faith of their parents because of some level of inconsistency between action and diction, James incorporated the jarring dissonance into his art.

With eye for detail, James excelled in realism and became a sought-after artist for commercial pieces for 25 years.

But recently, he’s turned more to fine art, wanting to give voice to a vibrant faith struggling with a shattered reality.

He married and had a beautiful family. He and his wife adopted Alex, who excelled in sports.

It was accidents on the snowboard (he preferred not to use a helmet) and a drug habit that started in the 7th grade that doomed Alex. His parents didn’t catch on to his drug use until it had devolved into ecstasy and heroin. Alex warped into an aggressive and hateful young man.

“In the end we ended up with a perfect storm,” James recounts. “Alex stopped being Alex, he became someone else. Our house was a war zone. He had become a con artist and… Read the rest: James Tughan Christian artist, troubled son.

Brushes with suicide, Rick Palma comes to Christ

The Holy Spirit prompted Rick Palma, a sophomore in high school in Guam, to witness to one of his buddies at school. But the friend was talking and the bell rang, so Rick went to class.

At the end of the day, there was no sign of the friend. The next day, no sign. Nor the next. Three days later, the teacher broke the terrible news to the class. That student the Holy Spirit wanted Rick to witness to had taken his own life.

“It shook me,” Rick says on the Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast. “I felt the Spirit of God just leave me.”

The unsettling tragedy was not the only brush with suicide for Rick Palma, who felt profoundly enmeshed by failure for much of his life due to his own shortcomings and the stalking of the Grim Reaper.

Rick Palma is a Polynesian born in Guam. His family got saved in a church, and he loved witnessing for God. It seemed he had a direct connection of communication with God; whoever God told him to witness to, he carried out with great success.

Until he missed his friend at school.

“There was nothing I could do at that point. I couldn’t pray because I felt such a failure in my life,” Rick admits. “It shocked to my core so bad that I started backing away from the things of God. His blood was on my hands. I couldn’t face myself to go back to God and say, ‘God, I failed you.’ It was that one moment that I let slip that weighed me down. I carried that as such a burden. I ended up backing away from church.”

Not only did Rick miss opportunities for street-preaching, he found ways to schedule work and miss church. The young men invited him, and he would “simply run in the other direction,” Rick says.

“A lot of the girls would invite the guys to the Bible study at school. I would go hide in the bathroom until it was over,” he says. “Failure can really bog you down when you attach that to your life.”

After high school, he moved to the States to stay with relatives. The initial plan to study got lost as he made friends who got him into hip hop, drugs and fornication.

One day at work, God prompted him to witness to a co-worker: I want you to tell him about me.

Rick wavered. He was in sin, and according to his theology, God doesn’t talk to sinners. So he balked at talking to the co-worker.

“I was doing heavy drugs, so I thought there’s no way God could be talking to a sinner like me,” he recalls. “So I ignored it. The next day they had a meeting at work. This same young man had taken his own life.”

Was God trying to call me back? Rick wondered. But still he was in bondage to sensual gratifications.

It wasn’t until his girlfriend took his daughter and left him that Rick hit rock bottom.

“For one whole week, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink,” he says. “I was so stressed out. I lost 24 pounds in one week. I was spiraling out of control.”

His work tried to get him therapy. But… Read the rest: Rick Palma brushes with suicide until God rescues him.

Mikhaila Peterson saw her Mom get healed of cancer in the strangest of ways

Mom’s rare form of cancer offered a bleak 0% survival rate, but she declared to her husband – mystically – “I’ll be better by our anniversary.”

Daughter Mikhaila Peterson dismissed the proclamation as “spooky weird.” But when Mom recovered a month later on the day of her anniversary, Mikhaila “couldn’t logic my way out of that.”

“How did you get better?” she asked Mom.

“God,” was her cryptic reply.

Mikhaila is a Canadian podcaster who is almost more famous for being the daughter of heralded culture critic Jordan Peterson, who himself recently passed from admirer of Christian teaching to follower of Christ.

Mikhaila’s journey to Christianity shadows her dad’s, but the critical factor was her mom’s brush with death.

Mikhaila grew up learning the Biblical stories, but they were taught for their psychological significance by her psychologist father who viewed them through the lens of Carl Jung. They weren’t taught as literal events and truth.

“In the 4th grade, somebody asked me if I believed in God,” Mikhaila remembers on a Big Conversation video. “I said, ‘I don’t know.’”

Inwardly, she envied Christians. “I hoped that one day I could find some sort of support, like God,” she says. “I heard Christians talking about it and it was like that sounds fantastic, but I don’t have that.”

Ironically, consuming psychedelic drugs in her youth made her open to the possibility of there being a deity.

“I took a lot of psychedelics, and I do think the psychedelics opened my mind to the possibility that there was something there I couldn’t see,” she says. “I think that had a fairly large role to play.”

Dad, who was a cultural phenomenon, came to Christ and stopped viewing the Biblical narrative only as an expression of humanity’s deep-seated needs and realized they are also true stories. Mikhaela, who always admired her dad, took note.

But it was her mother’s rare cancer that led her towards faith.

“She was unbelievably sick. She was movie sick. She got this rare cancer that nobody gets and there were no studies on it and the death rate was 100%,” Mikhaila relates. “It was a cancer that nothing helps and it kills you right away.

“It tore my family apart because it was so sudden.”

Three consecutive surgeries failed.

Only a Catholic woman who visited her in the hospital to pray with her offered hope.

“A lady started visiting her in the hospital and they were praying together,” Mikhaila says. “My mom’s demeanor changed. She just… Read the rest: Mikhaila Peterson Christian.

Thrown in jail? No problem. Start evangelizing

When Danish street-preacher Torben Sondergaard was arrested by the FBI 19 days ago on suspicion of smuggling arms into America, it was a real head-scratcher.

The zealous founder of The Last Reformation decided to leave Denmark after insistent pressure by authorities and the media. His abuses? Treating mental illness as if it were demon possession, encouraging people to stop taking their meds when healed by God, and home-schooling his daughters.

It was a case study of atheistic entities confronting a faith-filled firebrand, and the non-believers marshaling their forces so unrelentingly that Torben determined his name had been tarnished so badly in Denmark that he needed a clean start and applied for asylum in America.

Has he been smuggling arms from Mexico into America? Christians who have known him and his ministry are shaking their heads in disbelief.

“He doesn’t even know how to shoot a gun,” said Rene Celinder, a staunch ally.

Torben has been in jail since his arrest when authorities shackled him hand and foot like a terrorist. Initially, he was shocked. He had a bout with fear as the guards told him he would spend a long time in prison and then be deported, the fate of virtually all the inmates at ICE’s Baker County Facility in Florida.

Then Torben got a Bible and renewed his spirit with constant reading. Eventually, he got out of solitary confinement.

And he did what Paul did when in jail.

He began evangelizing.

In the latest update from The Last Reformation on YouTube which Jón Bjarnastein read, Torben… Read the rest: Torben Sondergaard in jail.

Mamba #5 rewritten for Jesus: Lou Bega turns Christian

David Lou Bega, the Berlin mamba singer whose catchy tune “Mamba #5” set the world dancing, has turned himself over to Christ after reading the Bible in a bungalow in the Maldives when unending rain wouldn’t let him, his wife and daughter out for sun and snorkeling.

“In depression, I found a bible and started to read. After a few pages, I started to realize this was the truth that I was always looking for,” he says in The Last Reformation documentary. “I’ve looked into different sets of religions before, everything that was trendy and cool, like Buddhism and some New Age stuff.

“But I had passed over Jesus Christ for so many years, to my regret,” he adds. “There he was calling me, giving me the opportunity. I started reading and I felt so convicted. I broke down, started crying. That was the Holy Spirit.”

He had seen Torben Sondergaard’s miraculous street evangelism ministry on YouTube and called him to baptize him in 2018. Sondergaard filmed the meeting at which he baptized and prayed for David and his extended family.

“I felt like a baby,” David says. “I felt like a newborn. That’s why the term born-again is really fitting. You’re fresh. Your transgressions, your iniquities are gone. I was so joyful and clean.”

David Lubega Balemezi hit #1 in many European cities in his 1999 remake of Mamba #5 “A Little Bit of Monika in my life.” For it, he earned a Grammy nomination. The pinnacle of his career pales compared to his simple encounter with Christ.

“Even in the days I was rebellious and didn’t listen to you (Jesus), didn’t obey you, you never dropped me, you gave me a family, you gave me love, you gave me everything I have,” he says. “It’s weird; you want to sing; you want to dance. It was the… Read the rest: Lou Bega Christian

What’s worse, spoiling or depriving your kids?

Leave a legacy for your kids.

Get rich for your kids

What’s the greater danger for Christian kids in America — getting spoiled or being neglected?

Her black history class taught her Jesus is a myth

Searching for identity, Paige Eman fell for the ploys of the African-American history class which taught her the Jesus narrative was counterfeit, stolen from ancient Egyptian myths of Seth and Osiris. Christianity, she was taught, was the white man’s religion designed only to subjugate slaves.

“I started as a Christian and then I transitioned into African spirituality and to New Age,” Paige says on her YouTube channel. “I’m back to Christianity and Jesus. I wasn’t willing to call myself a witch, but I was open to it. That’s the scary part”

The enticing part of the African American history class was twofold: cast doubt on the story of Jesus and drum up anger over historical and systemic racism (to our shame, there were Christians who justified slavery by saying Africans were children of Ham, accursed by Noah).

Despite her own personal apostasy from God, Paige does not regret studying at an HBCU, a Historically Black College or University. She made lifelong, supportive friendships, and the education was excellent.

Her only complaint? The assumption that the Jesus story is a fraud based only on the grounds of a somewhat similar story in mythology.

In fact, many cultures have resurrection and virgin conceptions stories. But none have a real, historical person associated with them. Undeniable historical people attest to Jesus, to his virgin birth and to his resurrection. So, if you’re going to dismiss these parts of Jesus’s life, you must account for the hundreds of witnesses who were willing to die for their story.

Paige Eman’s problems began when she was raised in a primarily white suburb. Her black friends said she “talked white,” and her white friends didn’t “really accept” her, so she felt “conflicted.”

When she graduated from high school, she made the decision to go to Hampton University in Virginia to figure out her identity.

“I met some amazing amazing people who were really like raised the same way that I was,” she says.

But the African American History class exposed her to some radical ideas that undercut the legitimacy of the Bible and Christianity. The Egyptian goddess Isis had a son by divine conception, she was told. The fact that this originated more than 2000 years before Jesus suggests to some scholars, especially the anti-Christian ones, that the disciples simple plagiarized the story.

It was compelling stuff, and the teacher provided proof after proof. Paige stopped believing in Jesus.

“We’re not supposed to worship Jesus as a black people right, so I totally rejected Jesus altogether,” she admits. “But I still believed in God.”

Having dismissed Christ, Paige embarked on a quest for the correct worship. She found out about ancestral worship and witchcraft, neither of which she fully embraced or practiced because her background in Christianity left her wary about it.

What she did get involved with was the law of attraction, burning sage and palo santo, and following black women’s spirituality groups on Facebook.

Little did she realize that dabbling with the things of the occult… Read the rest: African American history against Christianity

Hope for children of divorce

As a result of her parent’s divorce, Savannah Hernandez felt shame, had insecurities, depression, and had given up on believing in God.

“I hated God at this point of my life,” says Savannah on YouTube, “I just felt like, man, there is no way that God is real. I’m going through so much stuff. How is God real? How did he make this earth?”

Many fall away from God and don’t come back, but Savannah is proof that restoration of faith is possible.

Savannah’s parents got divorced when she was 11 years old. From there, she swirled downward emotionally.

“It was really hard on me just to face as a child and trying to figure out what was going on and just how to really just grow up to be a woman,” she says.

Savannah had a strong dad who never left her or made her feel alone, but she still felt an emptiness inside. She looked for masculine approval, which caused her to feel worse about herself and develop more insecurities.

“I did feel like I was alone at some point in my house, and I did run to guys and just love to try to find some type of love and temporary fix in those areas that I was hurting,” Savannah says. “It just caused me to hurt, and it caused me just shame and feeling like I wasn’t worthy and that was really hard for any girl to face.”

After she graduated, Savannah tried smoking and became stubborn and prideful.

“I was just doing all these things behind my dad’s back,” she recounts. “I’m not doing anything to pursue any of my goals, I’m not doing anything, I don’t believe in a God.

Then her sister got saved.

“I saw… Read the rest for free: Children of divorce have hope

Brain tumor dissolved through prayer, hole left behind

Stan Lander stared blankly at his wife when she asked a question. It was the second time some sort of brain fog prevented him from articulating, even thinking.

The doctor’s scan revealed an inoperable, probably cancerous mass in the middle of his brain.

“It was a death sentence, the Edmonds, Washington, man remembered on a CBN video.

The second scan only confirmed their worst fears.

“Is this my life?” Stan asked in disbelief.

But Stan and Aleta were Christian believers. So, in time of trial, they gathered their courage and prayed. Their church joined them in prayer.

The doctor’s prognosis was grim: the rare CNS Lymphoma spelled three to six months to live.

“Even in the midst of that dire prognosis, we knew that God was still for us and had a plan for our life,” Stan says.

Their neurosurgeon, Dr. Lau, told them, “I say from a neurosurgical point of view, we cannot do anything much.”

An MRI was scheduled.

Meanwhile, Stan and Aleta were watching the 700 Club one week before the second MRI and the woman praying, Terry Meeuwsen, made a startling statement:

“You’ve been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and there is no question whether you have it or not, it’s there and you question whether God can heal such a thing,” Meeuwsen said. “Today God is setting you free, he’s totally healing that tumor; it’ll just disappear.”

Stan and his wife were startled. It seemed the woman on TV was describing him.

“That’s for me!” Stan exclaimed.

When Dr. Lau saw the MRI results, he was taken aback. Where there had been a white image of the tumor, now there was only black, indicating there was a hole.

“There’s a hole in the brain!” he shouted. “There’s a hole in the brain!”

A miracle had occurred, and the Landers were overcome with astonishment and joy.

“When you see the picture, your jaw drops,” Dr. Lau says. “You saw the white stuff… Read the rest: Cure for a brain tumor.

Dreamless Korean kid becomes famous Christian rapper

Lee Byung-Yoon was an uncommon Korean child; he had no dreams for his future.

Then, to the chagrin of his parents, he wanted to be a hip hop artist.

“I had a dream in my first year of high school, and it was to make music,” he says on a YouTube video in Korean.

Eventually his parents supported his dream. Then BewhY (a simplification of his name that he uses as a stage name) won the prestigious Gaon Chart Awards in 2020. And every song he does is based on a Bible verse.

“I praise the Lord of my fathers today,” he raps in “On that Day.” “Even if many walls of oppression block me, I wait for the Lord only. Oh, the day of glory. Oh, God, please accept my heart.”

Of the South Korean population, 28% identify as Christian, so having Christian artists is not uncommon. What’s unique is that BewhY – noted for his sincerity and the fervor of his convictions – would win the secular “discovery” award when all his lyrics are Biblical and his testimony squeaky clean.

At the time he launched, other “Christian” rappers weren’t so Christian.

“When foreign rappers listened to K-pop or hip hop at that time, ‘idol culture’ was a bit of a bad… Read the rest: BewhY Christian Korean rapper

Scootie Wop lost his way when his dad left

High on Xanax, Scootie Wop, now a Christian rapper, swerved his vehicle into a divider after he fell asleep at the wheel, then crashed into a telephone pole.

“You need to go to church and do something,” his mom told him after he drove home. Somehow, he was able to drive the totaled car home after the horrific accident.

Emmanuel “Scootie” Lofton’s father was a pastor and former Marine. Scootie had an idyllic childhood until his father abandoned the family and left the ministry. That forced his mom, along with Scootie and his siblings, to live out of a 95 Mercedes Benz in South Carolina, according to Rapzilla.

“I felt like I lost a piece of myself. Everything switched. I got exposed to drugs and gang culture and fighting with different people,” he says on HolyCulture.net. “I got put into a gang in the fifth grade, so I hung around a lot of older kids. I started smoking in sixth grade and selling stuff in the seventh grade.”

That’s when 12-year-old Emmanuel started experimenting with drugs and gangbanging.

“My mom was praying for me every morning, every night,” he says. “She was always cooking something in the pot, making the house smell good. I got my love from God from her.”

Emmanuel tried to straighten up by playing football, basketball, track and even kickboxing. Eventually, he focused on football, but a broken leg – fractured in six places – right before college destroyed the dream. The months of recovery saw him drop sports and college.

He tried his hand at secular music and hit… Read the rest: Christian rapper Scootie Wop

Freed from the sequels of being molested

Taneisha Upperman’s idyllic childhood evaporated when she saw her stepdad hit her mom with a hatchet.

“It was in the middle of the night, blood was streaming down her face, and I was terrified, so I ran all the way down the street to my aunt’s house, probably about two in the morning crying,” she says on a Delafe video. “I remember being so scared and not knowing what to do and knocking on my aunt’s door for like 20 minutes because they were asleep.”

From the age of six, Taneisha’s life was a nightmare. Yes, her mother gave birth to Taneisha as a 16-year-old single mom, but they went to church with Grandma, and Taneisha had a happy life singing in church.

But her childhood innocence was tarnished when stepdad let the kids see porn.

Once when arguing with him, Mom locked Taneisha up in a room with her uncle, who sexually abused her.

“I was not understanding it, but being exposed to porn, I’m like, Well maybe this is

supposed to happen,” she says. “I just did not understand.”

She was seven-years-old, and told no one about the incident.

Mom moved the family to New York and then back to the country. Remembering the happy years when she attended church with Grandma, she begged her mom to be allowed to live with Grandma.

Little did she realize, Grandma had changed.

“That’s when I experienced verbal abuse and physical abuse,” Taneisha recalls. “My grandmother was angry. I don’t know why. She would just yell at me and call me names and say, ‘You’re nothing. You’re gonna be nothing. You’re lazy.’”

Grandma provided shabby clothes for Taneisha to wear to school, which was embarrassing and led to being bullied.

But the worst thing was that her uncle would come and go and take advantage of her sexually. At 10, she lost her virginity because of his abuse.

“In the fifth grade, I started having a warped view of guys,” she acknowledges. “I thought in order for them to like me or to be popular I had to let them touch me. I began to get promiscuous in school.”

All the while, Grandma took her to church, where she discovered she had a great singing voice. She was told she had a gift from God. When she sang solos, the church “went crazy.”

Taneisha elevated the family’s status in the church.

She started dating at age 12, and she… Read the rest: how do you get free from being molested?

‘Shut up and die!’ she shouted at her mother. She didn’t mean it.

In a moment of extreme accumulated frustration, Chiaki Gadsden told her alcoholic mother during a fight: “Shut up and die!”

Chiaki’s mother died that day.

“The next morning my father told me, ‘Chiaki, you mother died today,’” she narrates on a Japan Kingdom Church video on YouTube. “I didn’t feel anything. I just couldn’t believe it. I went home and saw her body and still couldn’t believe it.”

Chiaki’s childhood frustration and source of loneliness and abandonment was her mother’s alcoholism. Her father didn’t like to see his wife drunk, so he stayed away from home. Her older sister had become hardened and unfeeling, so she paid no heed to Chiaki’s pleas that they help Mother.

Eventually, Chiaki became uncaring also and took drugs and became promiscuous as a coping mechanism, she says. The coping mechanism never worked very well.

Meanwhile, she grew hard-hearted and distant from everyone.

That morning Chiaki and her mother fought, as they did many days. The sinister effects of alcoholism over many years reached a boiling point and Chiaki uttered the words she later regretted: “Shut up and die!”

She pronounced the awful words, but didn’t want the horrible result.

So when Mom died that day, Chiaki was staggered.

“I started to blame God: ‘Why didn’t you help me?’” she remembers. “I thought, What’s the point of this life? No one can help. My family didn’t help. God didn’t help. What is this life?”

At a family meeting, Chiaki’s father made a terrible announcement to everyone.

“He said my mother’s death was my fault,” Chiaki says.

“I was shocked that he said that,” she says. “I could not understand why he would say that.”

“Oh, it’s my fault that my mother’s dead?” Chiaki thought. “My father said so. Then it is bad for me to be here. If I’m not here, then everyone will be happy.”

From that moment, Chiaki no longer sought to have relationships with people. She cut herself off. She lost all hope, all purpose.

“Everything just became darkness,” she says.

Then Chiaki was invited to a gospel music festival.

“When I saw and listened to the gospel music, suddenly I felt something warm in my heart,” she recalls. “I thought, wow, gospel music is amazing. Then all of a sudden, tears started to pour out. I thought to myself, Why am I crying? I thought, What is this? What is this?” Read the rest: Christianity in Japan

A black pastor in Japan

Blacks aren’t generally accepted in Japan. Even Japan’s 2015 Miss Universe candidate Ariana Miyamoto, being half black, was widely rejected on social media as not being truly Japanese.

So how does Marcel Jonte Gadsden – and a handful of other black pastors – lead churches and evangelize in Japan?

“No matter what you do, no matter how you treat me, I respond with a deeper love, an unconditional love, agape love,” Marcel says on The Black Experience Japan YouTube channel. “The Bible tells us to love our enemies. How can you love your enemy? You can’t do it. That’s why the L of love is written from the top down. You must receive love vertically from the Father, down to you and then you can give it out.”

Marcel arrived in Japan as a military brat in 1999.

“I thought coming here there’d be samurais everywhere with swords,” he says. “I was scared to come to Japan. I thought we’d be the only black people in Japan. All I knew was Ramen noodles and samurais.”

When he got out among the people, he was smitten with compassion – so many hordes without hope, without Jesus.

“If what I believe is true about God, what is the hope for these people?” Marcel remembers. “The passion began to rise.”

Motivated to reach the people, Marcel threw himself into learning Japanese and when he had memorized some verses, went out as an adolescent to street-preach in Japanese in the Shinjuku neighborhood.

Japan has virtually no context for understanding street preachers. While there are street performers, they make a poor reference point. Some stared at him as if he were crazy, others ignored him.

While the initial response wasn’t exactly warm, Marcel was warmed by the fires of the love of God.

“Some people were listening and others were like who is this guy?” he remembers. “I began to learn about Japanese people and how they’re not expressive like we are.”

He took a job at 7Eleven to immerse himself in the culture and get to know the people. When he started a church in his living room, many of his first visitors had met him at 7Eleven.

“It was a training ground. I learned so much. It turned a lot of heads when they saw me at the counter. To see the reactions in people’s faces, they look and look again like, he works here?”

When Marcel met and married a Japanese girl from church, he had to overcome the resistance of his father-in-law, who shared the typical entrenched racism of Japan. Every day his future father-in-law would drop his girlfriend off at church, he would pop up to the car, open the door for Chiaki and warmly greet her dad.

“I think he had this image of me being a gangster and trying to steal his daughter,” Marcel relates. “He totally ignored me. And this continued until finally one day, he slightly looked like he slightly acknowledged me. He gave an inch of a nod. I was really convinced that love could destroy his prejudice.”

After Marcel and Chiaki were married, the formation of a relationship with his father-in-law began… Read the rest: black pastors in Japan

Chevy Beauville with him when he shipped hotdog carts, drove kids in high school and then at church

The “goon-mobile” or “swagger wagon” – a 1978 Chevy Beauville van that belched out blue smoke from its tailpipe – accompanied Adam Dragoon everywhere he went, from delivering hotdog carts around town in Portland to the party bus in high school.

When he got saved in his later high school years, the Beauville became the church bus, carting people and equipment for outreach and service.

“I learned how to sell hotdogs at 10 years old, slinging the mustard, Hebrew National hotdogs,” Adam says. “I inherited the van, a 1978 Chevy Beauville. It was a tank, one of those half-ton vans. That became my ride, that hunk of junk. It was glorious.”

The hunk of junk is a metaphor for Adam’s life before Jesus: weighted heavily, inefficient, roaring around, wasting resources. The heaviness on his heart started early, when his parents got divorced in Oregon during kindergarten.

“I was upset that Dad was gone and he wasn’t coming back,” Adam remembers on a Testimony Tuesday podcast on Spotify. “That definitely had a profound impact on who I was.”

Then both his grandfathers died when he was 15.

“That hit me real hard,” he acknowledges. “It was the first time I had to deal with death. I got angry at God. My mother’s father knew Jesus, so I was confident he was in Heaven. But my other grandpa was blasphemous and told dirty jokes. One of them was in Heaven, and one of them was not.

“That had a profound effect on me.”

What was a young boy supposed to do but fall in love with a cute blond at a telemarketing firm that he now realizes was a scam?

“I had to take care of the car. I had to pay insurance. I had to put gas in the tank, so I had to have a job,” he remembers of his 16th year. School was less appealing than work: he had a ready mind to learn but an unready hand for homework and barely passed his classes.

Raised in Arizona – “the Promised Land where all the California people who can’t afford California go,” Adam spent summers with his father where Grandfather Dragoon put him to work peddling hotdogs from his deli. He learned a work ethic.

During the summer when he was 14, Adam tried reading the Bible with his other grandfather but didn’t understand because he wasn’t yet born-again; the Holy Spirit was not yet upon him to teach him the meaning of the Scriptures.

“I put some serious effort into it,” he says.

His mom took Adam and his brother to church, one of those megachurches with cushy chairs, AC flooding the room, and a youth group of 800 kids. If you asked him, Adam would have said he was a Christian.

At the same time, there were doubts. Taught in public school, he was filled with a lot of skepticism and atheistic ideas, the fodder of the public school system.

So, when one day he sat next to a glowingly pretty blond at the telemarketing business, Adam was ripe to listen to the Gospel from her. Taya radiated light, the light of Jesus – and she was stunning.

“One day I got brave enough to leave a note on her car: If you ever want to hang out with me, you can call me,’” he remembers. “Amazingly enough, she called me.”

The first conversation ended with him asking her to hang out on the weekend. She responded with: Today’s Wednesday, and I’m going to church. Do you want to go to church with me? Read the rest: Adam Dragoon pastor of Virginia Beach Church

Author of Texas Heartbeat law, Briscoe Cain was born with Asperger’s

Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain has suffered from Asperger’s and autism throughout his life but hasn’t let that stop him from being an unashamed Christian who stands for his faith in his work to create the Texas Heartbeat Bill, which prohibits abortion after a baby’s heartbeat has been detected in the womb.

“Yes, I mix religion and politics,” he wrote in a tweet.

Cain was recipient of the 2021 Malachi Award, given by Operation Rescue to recognize the person who advanced the cause of protecting the pre-born, for his role in creating the Texas Heartbeat Act.

The 37-year-old is a loving husband and father of five. His first name is in honor of his ancestor, American pioneer, Andrew Briscoe, who fought in the Texas Revolution as a part of the Texan Army and was one of 60 who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836.

Born with Asperger’s and autism, Cain grew up in Deer Park, Texas, raised by his father, a plant operator and his stepmother, an occupational nurse. His mother, a homemaker, taught him the value of hard work and commitment to his community.

“I, along with countless others who experience these challenges brought on by Asperger’s and autism, communicate and express myself in a way that’s different from others,” Cain told Capital Tonight.

He founded the Republican Club at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), the first pro-life law student organization in Texas.

“It definitely was the desire of my heart… Read the rest: Texas Heartbeat Law by Briscoe Cain

Jeff Allen saved his marriage and became a Christian

He was a comedian on stage. At home, Jeff Allen was an irritable, angry husband.

He even fought with his wife over cheese. With a morbid fear of spoilage, he would throw out perfectly fine cheese. His wife would argue over the waste.

“I don’t want it!” he yelled at his wife. He stood on a stool to emphasize his point. “Can’t you hear me? I don’t want it! I don’t want it!”

Cocaine and alcohol were in the mix, sharpening the damage caused by his cutting remarks.

One day as he put his child to bed, the little one shook him.

“Daddy you win,” she told him. “Mommy cries. You yell. You win.”

Tears streamed down his face. Jeff suddenly realized he needed help. He first attacked the drug addiction and alcoholism through 12-step programs.

But he chafed at the step that calls for participants to believe in and pray to a higher power. A confirmed atheist, Jeff ridiculed people of faith. To pray to a “higher power,” he thought, was delusional.

But he went through the motions simply to fulfill all 12 steps.

He was on the road to recovery, so he sampled Buddhism and other faiths that overlapped with self-help.

“I was seeking for my life,” he says.

Then he learned his wife, Tammy, was having an affair. It was devastating.

He called her and told her to come home.

As he waited all night, he fumed.

“I was getting self-righteous,” he confesses.

Finally, the problems of their marriage weren’t to blame on him, and he seized on his wife’s mistakes to feel superior. But as he plotted his revenge, a little voice interrupted him.

“Really?” it said. What about the time you stood on the chair and yelled at her? What about the time you smashed all the dishes? What about the time…?

“I wrestled with God that night,” he admits. “I paced my room like a caged cat.”

By the time his wife called for Jeff to pick her up the next morning, the avalanche of furor had dissolved.

Exhausted from a sleepless night, he met her at the airport. At first sight, Jeff immediately hugged her and kissed her.

“Baby, we’re a mess,” he said… Read the rest: Comedian Jeff Allen Christian

When TobyMac’s son overdosed…

Three months after his eldest son died of a drug overdose at 21, TobyMac sang a heart-breaking tribute “21 Years” about the doomed destiny, lost promise, and hope of Heaven.

“‘21 Years’ is a song I never wanted to write,” the artist born Kevin Michael McKeehan told People. “I loved (Truett) with all my heart. Writing this song felt like an honest confession of the questions, pain, anger, doubt, mercy and promise that describes the journey I’m probably only beginning.”

“21 Years” is a dirge with Toby’s signature catchy pop, stylized lyrics and rousing uplift.

Is it just across the Jordan

Or a city in the stars?

Are ya singin’ with the angels?

Are you happy where you are?

Well, until this show is over

And you’ve run into my arms

God has you in Heaven

But I have you in my heart.

Truett died in Nashville of a fentanyl and amphetamine overdose in 2019. Truett had just launched his music career, having resisted emerging as a child star under the tutelage of his famous father.

“Until something in life hits you this hard, you never know how you will handle it,” Toby says. “I am thankful that I have been surrounded by love, starting with God’s and extending to a community near and far that have walked with us and carried us every day.”

Starting with DC Talk in the late 1980s and 90s, Toby has been a Christian music kingpin. He has 20 Billboard chart-topping singles. In addition to being a performer, Toby produces music for his label, Gotee Records.

Being celebrity Christians brings a unique pressure on their children, who get frustrated with the outsized expectations upon them. They might want to be just normal kids with normal experiences and normal failings but are expected to conform to the rigorous standards by outsiders. In 2013, Pastor Rick Warren’s son committed suicide.

When personal tragedy becomes a public spectacle, the superstar Christian needs to shed his celebrity status and return to his personal relationship with God.

“Part of my process has always been to write about the things I’m going through, but this went to a whole new level,” Toby explains. “What started out as getting some of my thoughts and feelings about losing my firstborn son down on paper, ended up a song. ’21 Years’ is a song I never wanted to write.” Read the rest: how did TobyMac’s son die?

Undrafted QB sensation Kurt Warner, the ultimate underdog

The day of reckoning wasn’t when Kurt Warner was unexpectedly thrust on the field as the Rams’ quarterback amid predictions of failure after the first-string QB was seriously injured.

The day of reckoning came years earlier when his wife’s parents were killed by a tornado. That’s when Kurt saw how genuine her faith was – and came to real faith himself.

“Before that my faith was always like: God was out there and whenever I needed him, he was like my spare tire. I get a flat, pop out the spare, God I need this,” Kurt says on an I am Second video. “When her parents were killed by a tornado, she didn’t have all the answers. She was angry. She was willing to call out to God and ask God why and yell and scream.

“But she never lost her faith. She didn’t walk away from God,” Kurt adds. “It was at that moment that I realized that everything she had been talking to me about, this is what it looks like. This is what it is supposed to be. It was at that time that I really committed my life to Jesus.”

By the time Kurt saw himself leading the Rams into the Super Bowl, he was already forged by the furnace. His improbable ascent to NFL Hall of Famer as an undrafted quarterback is the stuff of a consummate underdog. His story – and faith – is portrayed by American Underdog, a movie released in theaters Dec. 25.

Kurt dreamed of football from childhood. The game was a cherished memory he shared with his dad, who left in a divorce.

In college, Kurt was a hotshot with a pinpoint aim, but he had the nasty habit of rolling out of the pocket and making his own plays, not the plays ordered by his coach. For his lack of discipline, the University of Northern Iowa coach kept him on the bench for three seasons.

According to the movie (which sticks closely to his real-life story), he begged for a chance to play, and coach finally leveled with him. He needed to stay in the pocket, a protected bubble formed by collapsing linemen around the QB, to give him time to find a receiver.

As a drill to see if Kurt could handle the pressure, Coach sent wave after wave of defensive linemen crashing into him to hurt him and see if he would stand up under pressure. It worked.

Kurt was named Gateway Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year and first team all-conference.

At the same time, Kurt met the girl who became his wife and the catalyst to his faith.

The odds were against him striking up a relationship with Brenda. She loved country music; he hated it. Even worse, she detested football.

But as God would have it, Kurt went with his friend to a country-western bar where he was smitten by her good looks and decided he’d better learn to barn dance.

Sidling up her, he turned on the charm. But Brenda wouldn’t even give him her name. Read the rest: American Underdog, Kurt Warner testimony

Janitor prevailed over doctor, mother saved her baby from abortion

The doctor screamed at Mom to follow through with the abortion she had already paid for, but the janitor who found Christina Bennet’s mom crying in her gown in the hallway said God would provide a way for her to have and support her baby.

Because her mom never wished to tell her the story of how her life hung in the balance between the forces of death (ironically, a doctor) and the forces of life (a humble janitor), Christina never knew until someone whispered prophetically in her ear.

“I was in college and I was attending a church. Someone approached me and said, ‘Christina, God wants you to know something remarkable happened around the time of your birth,’” she recalled on a CBN news video.

Startled, Christina confronted Mom, who was at first only vague saying some Angel had been involved but eventually broke down and spilled the beans.

“Do you want to have this baby?” the janitor had asked Mom.

“Yes,” she replied through the tears.

“God will give you the strength to have your child,” the cleaning man said.

The doctor tried to intervene and obligate Christina’s mom to follow through. “You’ve already paid. You’re just nervous,” he reassured her.

When Mom stood her ground, the doctor yelled, “Don’t leave this room!” Christina narrates.Mom rushed out. Read the rest: doctor battled janitor over abortion

Science backing same-sex parents flawed, author says

Decades of research have only confirmed that kids suffer when they lose a biological parent, whether it be through divorce, death, adoption, abandonment or third-party reproduction.

Two wedding rings on the fabric colors of the rainbow. Concept same-sex marriage.

“Losing a parent is physically, mentally, and emotionally detrimental for kids,” says Katy Faust in her book Them Before Us. “Sociologists overwhelmingly agree outcomes for children are best when the children are raised by their married mother and father, a consensus backed by decades of research on marriage and family.”

This was well-established science until the Dawn of the Enlightened Era of Marriage Equality. People’s hearts melted with compassion as they listened to the stories of same-sex parents wishing for a child.

All of a sudden, a barrage of studies emerged reputedly demonstrating that kids raised by same-sex parents came out just as well as parents raised by their biological parents, a mother and a father. The only thing that matters, we were told, was the stability of two loving parents.

And just like that, decades of research was suddenly upended overnight.

Because the media hype went into full swing and social scientists pushed the story it was a slogan that caught on quickly and was adopted widely. Even the Supreme Court was swayed by the “science.”

There was only one problem: While we heeded the tearful stories of same-sex parents who wanted to have children, we ignored the tearful stories of children who wanted a dad and mom.

“The pain in my life did not stem from the state not recognizing the relationship between my two moms,” wrote Heather Barwick in a Supreme Court amicus brief. “It stemmed from the turmoil of desperately wanting a father. I love my mom deeply, fiercely, and unconditionally. She is an incredible woman, but I also love my absent father. I ached for a father I knew I would never have.”

Actually, there was another problem. The “science” supporting same-sex parenting was baked. Methodology was flawed: participants were NOT selected randomly, sample sizes were small and NOT representative, reporting methods (such as same-sex parents answering on behalf of their children) were NOT reliable, according to an evaluation by the Heritage Foundation in 2015.

When Mark Regenerus conducted a legit study in 2012 – not perfect, but better than anything conducted previously – he demonstrated what family research has basically pointed out all along: parental loss hurts kids over the long run, even under the new rubric of same-sex parenting.

The equal sign was a cute logo. But the math was not equal.

“On 25 out of 40 outcomes evaluated, there were statistically significant differences between children from intact biological families and those of mothers in lesbian relationships in many areas that are unambiguously suboptimal, such as receiving welfare, need for therapy, infidelity, STIs, sexual victimization, educational attainment, safety of the family of origin, depression, attachments and dependencies, marijuana use, frequency of smoking, and criminal behavior,” the study says.

His conclusions detonated an atomic bomb of politcal fury.

An army of 200 social scientists arose and trumpeted in a signed complaint that Regnerus had doctored his conclusions based on his religious ideology. Leading the charge was UCLA’s demographer Gary Cates. If he accused Regnerus of being a religious ideologue, there were three fingers pointing back at him. Cates is gay.

Regnerus almost got fired from his job as Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

The message was ominous: anyone who dared to break ranks with the current political ideology would be canceled.

As social scientists dug through his study to unearth defects, Regnerus responded in a twofold manner: 1) no study supporting same-sex parenting had been subjected to similar scrutiny, and 2) keep doing studies (but legit ones).

Regnerus weathered the maelstrom.

Two things happened since his 2012 watershed study. More social scientists worked unafraid of the woke mob. And kids started posting the cries of their heart online. They still had a longing for the biological parent that was not present.

Culling from 12,000 participants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Paul Sullins found and studied 20 randomly selected children growing up in same-sex parent household. They were twice as likely to suffer depression later as adults, along with suicidal thoughts and obesity when compared to peers raised by biological parents.

“These results align with what social science has already established about child development, namely the three essential staples of a child’s socio-emotional diet: mother’s love, father’s love, and stability,” Faust writes. Read the rest: Do same-sex parents do as well as biological parents?

With pregnancy, mom and daughter were dying

A pregnancy is supposed to fill parents with joy, but Laura Johnson’s pregnancy seemed to detonate a cascade of life-threatening conditions for both her and her baby.

“There were times where the doctors would bring me the worst information you could think of and I would forget about my faith,” husband Sean Johnson told CBN. “I have to sit here and days go by, and pray that my wife don’t die any day now.”

The gospel singing duo saw their hopes fade to panic. First, Laura was taken to emergency with intense abdominal pain that was diagnosed as a 4-centimeter hernia that twisted her stomach and pushed much of her intestines into her chest cavity. It required surgery.

Then, what was predicted to be a 5-hour surgery turned into 5-days of straight surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston as doctors opened her up and found things were worse than expected: one lung was compressed, her heart was pushed to the side, and a three-foot section of her intestine was dead.

All the while, Laura was pregnant at 22 weeks.

“I’m losing my mind, honestly,” Sean remembers thinking. “Let’s just be truthful. I’m losing my mind.

“I took it back to God,” he adds. “I said, ‘Listen, this is what they told me. So now you gotta figure this out cause I don’t work in this kinda stuff, you work in these kinda ways.’”

Then on day two of surgery, Laura went into labor. She was unconscious when she delivered baby Alora by C-section on Nov. 21, 2018.

You may be hoping for a Disney movie ending, but baby Alora weighed a mere 1 pound and 8 ounces. The tiniest of babies, all of Alora fit into the palm of Sean’s hand.

Alora suffered two brain bleeds, hydrocephalus, and chronic lung disease. She required two brain surgeries, and at one point, doctors called the parents in to say their goodbyes. Alora wouldn’t survive, they said grimly.

Still, Sean and Laura clung to their faith and sang to the Lord.

“You put her in the palm of my hand, that’s how small she was,” says Sean. “I was excited! It’s… Read the rest: Sean and Laura Johnson.

Jesus helps crime rates

When Robert Polaco got saved, crime statistics went down for the City of Las Vegas, NM. So says his former pastor. People knew him and feared him, and soon the word spread around the city that the Door Church is where the former criminal was saved.

Robert Polaco’s mom lived mostly in a mental hospital with schizophrenia. His dad lived primarily in jail. Robert was raised as a ward of the State.

“I was placed in a foster home,” Robert says on the 2021 video produced by the Door Church. “According to the case work, I was being abused.”

Along with his harsh living conditions, Robert also felt like a pariah — as if something was broken within him.

“I grew up with that chip on my shoulder,” Robert continues. “It was as if there was no answer, I felt there was no hope.”

Later on, Robert would dedicate his life and career to martial arts. His role as an instructor became the new identity he would give himself to.

“I decided to open up my own dojo,” Robert says. “That’s where I met my wife- I gave her free lessons because I thought she was pretty.”

Robert and Jacque Polaco would eventually enter a marriage which was immediately plagued by serious relationship problems. Robert’s life quickly fell apart.

Change would eventually come on May 15th, 1981. The young couple was introduced by Door Church’s pastor Harold Warner to a set of popular Biblical prophecy films. Convicted, Robert and his wife surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ.

“When I prayed that prayer on that night, I just felt free.” Robert recounts.

Similarly, Jacque felt as if a massive weight was on her for her entire life. Her prayer for salvation lifted the heavy burdens she carried.

“There was no desire to smoke dope or drink alcohol,” Robert states. “The desire was gone. When I entered the martial arts class on Monday, I shut it all down.”

Robert felt like a brand-new man, a newborn star. It was as if someone had pressed a reset button on him; now Robert found something to live for: Jesus.

“Robert and Jacque proved to be a key couple in the forming of that early church here,” Pastor Ray Rubi of Door Church reminisces.

However, the incredibly small building that represented the Door Church in Las Vegas would eventually be the recipient of God’s miracles in the form of a skilled new pastor, Richard Rubi.

“The city of Las Vegas had about 14,000 people, but everybody knew Robert,” Richard says. “He had a reputation there.” Read the rest: Jesus helps crime rates

Kevin Robinson couldn’t afford to buy books, so he just read them at the bookstore. Today he is rich.

Despite making millions in real estate, Kevin Robinson, 38, scrimps on groceries, eating oatmeal, tuna out of the can, and frozen grapes instead of ice cream. He makes a point of always buying in bulk.

“My family thinks I’m just as cheap as hell,” Kevin says on a MarketWatch video. “They say, you’re just cheap. Go buy some real ice cream. But little things start to add up for me, and (living frugally) has been very, very good for me in building up my net worth.”

Today, Kevin Robinson — who calls himself Kayr — administers a real estate empire, but he grew up in “deep poverty” in Philadelphia. He serves as an example of someone God provided for abundantly as he gave to God’s work.

“No one in my family was financially literate,” he says. “What happened to me is that I was motivated because when I was 13 or 14 years old, I noticed my mother struggled with money and our local church was always raising money.”

So, he went to the local bookstore and read everything on finance, money management and real estate. He didn’t buy the books. He didn’t have the money to do so. He didn’t even have money for the bus to get to the bookstore. He walked there every weekend and spent the day reading them in the store throughout middle school and high school while his friends played sports.

“I would say, ‘I’m going to master this material. No one’s going to know more than me,’” he remembers. “I sat down. I read the book for free. I put it back.”

Throughout his childhood, Mom had to move 10 times. Though instability was not ideal, Kevin found inspiration.

“It looked like the landlord had all this power. He gets to decide who lives and who stays in his property,” he says. “I said to myself, ‘What am I going to do? Am I going to become the homeless person or the teenage dad? Or am I going to become the landlord or the business owner?’

“I decided to become the landlord and the business owner.” Read the rest: He read books on riches at the bookstore because he couldn’t afford them, then Kevin Robinson became rich.

Children fare better with a mom and a dad

In a study that riled LBGT advocates in 2012, Professor Mark Regnerus found that kids raised by a married man and woman fared better generally than those raised in homes where they had two male parents or two female parents. Has there been any change in outcomes during the intervening years?

Surveying 15,000 Americans between 18 and 39, the study measured 40 outcome categories and found, for example, that kids of homosexual parents were more likely to be on welfare support, have depression and succumb to drug abuse than their counterparts raised in intact biological homes, according to the 2012 study, reported by CBS.

Naturally, the gay political agenda fired off rounds at the study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin sociologist. The study, they said, proved that instability at home, not homosexuality, was a problem. They maintained it was biased by the sociologist’s Catholic faith. It contradicted other, better studies, they said.

His own university department chair disavowed his study and LBGT demographer Gary Gates formed a group of 200 social scientists to attack Social Science Research, the journal which published his study. Cancel culture was in full swing.

Defending himself, Regnerus says his study was the most thorough so far and challenged opponents to conduct their own studies based on statistically significant data and prove him wrong, not just yell. Why haven’t the studies which supported raising kids in same-sex parent households not subjected to the same scrutiny as his? He asked.

“Most conclusions about same-sex parenting have been drawn from small, convenience samples, not larger, random ones,” Regnerus said. “The results of that approach have often led family scholars to conclude that there are no differences between children raised in same-sex households and those raised in other types of families. But those earlier studies have inadvertently masked real diversity among gay and lesbian parenting experiences in America.”

Since 2012, Regnerus has continued to study questions of sexuality and the family. He has attacked the “pornographization of daily life,” which erodes Christian marriage and normalizes aberrant sexual practices.

According to his most recent book in 2020, The Future of Christian Marriage, fewer Christians are getting married. What God established as the foundation of society is meeting some measure of indifference from Christians, who seemed to be influenced by cultural trends.

Regnerus stands behind his original conclusions that kids tend to do better in traditional homes. Kids need a dad for what only a dad can provide, and they need a mom for what only a mom can provide.

Of his respondents, 69% of children of lesbian mothers… Read the rest: Children fare better with a mom and a dad.

Prolific punting couldn’t earn paternal praise

Steve Weatherford — whose punting pinned the Patriots back deep in their zone to help the Giants win Superbowl XLVI — says all his heroics were a vain attempt to get the approval of his father.

“I was trying to get the attention of my dad,” Weatherford says on a 7 Figure Squad video. “During a lot of those amazing achievements, I didn’t really enjoy them because the reason I was achieving them was I needed some affirmation from the most important person: dad.”

Today, Weatherford has found peace, approval and acceptance from Jesus, leaving behind the inner turmoil that led him to drugs and porn despite his outward appearance of success and manliness.

Born in Indiana, Steve Weatherford was raised in Baton Rouge. From an early age, he showed inclination for sports, playing football, soccer, basketball and track in high school. He didn’t enjoy the greatest relationship with his stoical, old school-style father.

The foray into sports began as a means to win his father’s approval. He worked out in the gym incessantly. As a result of his impressive physique, rumors circulated around town that he had bulked up thanks to “the juice.” One day, his dad even called him at school and told him to come over to the office.

“Oh crap, what did I do?” he wondered as he drove over to Dad’s. “Oh my God, I’m really in trouble.”

“There’s rumors around town that you’ve been taking steroids,” Dad said. “I’m not mad at you, but I want to get you help.”

“Initially I was really offended. I wanted to lash back,” Steve remembers. “But then I sat back into my chair and I thought to myself, ‘My dad thinks that I’ve done something with myself that is impossible to do without cheating.’”

“Dad, you might not believe me but I’ve done this 100% the right way,” he responded. “I’ll take a test right now.”

It was the closest thing to a compliment that he ever got from his dad.

Weatherford proceeded to the University of Illinois as a kicker and punter. He also played track and was named Sports Illustrated’s most underrated athlete in the Big Ten in 2004. He walked on to the New Orleans Saints and played for four teams before landing with the New York Giants.

Punters are usually wimps, by NFL standards. All they have to do is kick well. But Weatherford had the build of a lineman as a punter. He maintained a maniacal workout and diet regimen that got him featured in bodybuilding magazines.

On the outside, he was achieving his wildest dreams. But on the inside, he was losing battles. He watched porn and started taking percocet.

“I worked so hard to get into the NFL. I worked so hard to become the fittest man in the NFL twice. I worked so hard to (win the) Walter Peyton man of the year community service award. I worked so hard to become a Superbowl champion,” Weatherford says. “Looking back on my life, those were all predicated on getting my dad’s attention.”

Superbowl XLVI was a dream. The Giants were playing against Tom Brady’s Patriots.

Weatherford punted four times with such distance and precision that the Patriots found themselves in their own 10 and five yards — a marathon distance to touchdown. When the Giants came out on top, some observers called Weatherford the MVP.

A punter MVP?

Weatherford basked in the glory of his achievements. He looked over to Dad. He wanted so desperately for his father to clap him on the back, give him a bear hug and lavish patriarchal praise. Read the rest: Steve Weatherford Christian

Before he went viral in CHH, Miles Minnick came to church high

A gaggle of girls besieged him for his autograph at Great America because they thought he was Lil Bow Wow. Miles Minnick was 14, and that’s how he realized hip hop was his calling.

“If this is the kind of attention rappers get, let me go ahead and start rapping,” he says on a Testimony Stories video. “It was crazy.”

He immediately started free-styling inside the theme park. He rapped at school and won talent contests. He got chances to rap in the booth. Chockful of talent, he got noticed by big name San Francisco Bay area rappers and got invited to collaborate.

Miles’ trajectory moved assuredly toward success. But then he got saved and decided to dedicate his talent to God, and now he is one of the hottest new stars in Christian Hip Hop (CHH).

Miles Minnick grew up in Pittsburg, CA, with a polar opposite older brother, who “killed it” in athletics while Miles killed it in video games. In middle school he sported dyed-tip dreads and gold teeth.

His father prayed nightly with his sons but drove them to school in the morning with gangsta rap blaring: “F— the police!”

“When I was 8 or 9, we would go to church maybe once a month,” he remembers.

When Miles turned 12, his brother went to a church camp and came home on fire for God.

“My brother would chip away at me and chip away at me all the time. He would say, ‘Don’t do this? Why you do this?’ He would try to coach me in the correct way,” Miles recounts. “But I was still in the streets.”

He got a girl pregnant when he was 15, and he and his girlfriend brought the baby to class. The teacher often held the infant while teaching at the board.

“We were the school sweethearts. Everybody wanted to support us. Even though I was a knucklehead,” he admits. “I was trying to be a good dad, and I was a kid myself. The streets wouldn’t let me go.”

At age 16, Miles had his encounter with Christ. Ironically, it came when he was selling and smoking weed.

“I was a pothead,” he admits.

As he was getting high one day, a friend blurted out: “Hey bro, we should go to church!”

“Go to church? Right now?” he asked his buddy, who was also smoking marijuana. “We are high like nobody’s business. What are you talking about?”

The friend responded that there were pretty girls at the youth group. “I didn’t want to go, but they drug (sic) in there,” he says.

But youth group was closed, so they went into the main service at New Birth Church, Pittsburg.

“I was the one who didn’t want to go, but I wound up sitting on the edge of my seat, reading the songs off the projector, singing the songs,” he remembers. “It captivated me. I was feeling something I never felt before. I was fresh off the street, fresh off a smoking session. At the end of the service, the pastor pulled an altar call. I didn’t even know what that meant. I just knew I wanted it. I went up to the front, and the pastor laid his hands on me and prayed for me, and I fell out under the Spirit of God.

“I was on the ground weeping, crying my eyes out,” he adds. Read the rest: Miles Minnick

Only a punch to the throat saved Tim Tebow’s wife

All glammed up driving to a fancy event, the reigning Miss South Africa, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, found herself surrounded by five armed men at a stoplight in Johannesburg.

“I didn’t know what they wanted from me, but I knew it wasn’t good.” Demi says on a Tim Tebow Foundation video.

Demi decided to give up her car and make a run for it, but one assailant forced her in the car.

“Get in!” he barked. “You’re going with us.”

All sorts of horrid possibilities flashed through her mind, so surrendering herself by getting in the car was the last thing she wanted to do.

So Demi punched one of the men in the throat as hard as she could.

“That one punch gave me a split second, a window of opportunity to run away and I DID,” Demi said.

As Miss South Africa, Demi was wearing all her glamorous clothing for a special event — including 6-inch high heels.

She ran frantically — or rather hobbled — down the line of cars at the stoplight. It was peak traffic hour, about five in the afternoon.

“I ran through traffic and tried getting away, looking over my shoulder, not knowing if I’m being shot in the back,” she says.

She knocked on car windows pleading for help.

In all, Demi thinks she knocked on at least 30 car windows.

Nobody opened a car door for her. Nobody rolled down a window to ask what was wrong. Everybody acted like they didn’t see her.

“Not one person stopped to help,” she says. “I don’t know what was more terrifying, being attacked by these five armed men, or not getting any help.” Read the rest: Tim Tebow’s wife attacked

Reform school volleyball in Los Angeles

Two years ago, Heidy Hutchinson misbehaved in school and, looking for a fresh start, transferred to Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.

On Wednesday, Heidy led the 2nd-string team to a 1st-rate victory against beginner’s team Summit View School to notch-up LCA’s record to 6-1.

“Me and my brother went to public school, we got in trouble, we had to come here,” Heidy says. “We kind of became better people and grew in school. I learned more about God. I got closer to God, and that’s it.”

The sidelines erupted in wild cheers for Heidy as serve after serve — underhanded serves — went over the net and — excuse the pun — netted points for LCA.

They weren’t cheering for Lighthouse, which was unyieldingly driving Summit into the depths. They were cheering strictly for Heidy. She’s come a long way. (Link to an article on Heidy from 2019.)

“I’m not really a sports person. I’m not very athletic,” Heidy says. “I didn’t really want to play volleyball, but Sarah (Montez) and Lakin (Wilson) pushed me to play. They begged me to. I’m really thankful they did because I wouldn’t be playing if they didn’t.”

Lighthouse is NOT a reform school. But they say God can re-form anyone who has taken missteps down the wrong path.

When Heidy scored the last point, players on the bench mobbed her, high-fiving and hugging.

“She got the last winning serve!” Sarah said. “She’s the team captain.”

Heidy is not team captain, but… Read the rest: Christian School Los Angeles sports program

Developmentally disabled couple wants kids

Chloe fell in love with and married Jason Ivey. It’s a heart-warming and romantic story. There’s just one notable piece of information to add. Both spouses are developmentally disabled.

Chloe has Down Syndrome. Jason has autism, ADD and bipolar disorder.

“People with autism want to feel important; they want to feel needed. Honestly, it’s magical. That’s how I actually feel,” Jason said in an interview with Special Books for Special Kids, a YouTube channel that promotes understanding of people with disabilities. “Yeah, there’s ups and downs. But I’m telling you Chloe is such a perfect wife. And even when I’m down she lifts me right back up and makes me so happy.”

To see Chloe and Jason talk about marriage and how God brought them together is a moving reminder that God has not made anyone inferior. People with special needs have much to teach others about happiness and simplicity in a world that seems overly complicated to many.

“I feel like I’m hit with a love bug. Sometimes I would say, ‘Thank You, God, for everything, all the positive things,” Chloe says. “I feel like I want to cry. I feel like I’m on top of the world.”

The love oozes from the video. “She is like drop-dead gorgeous,” Jason says. “I was worried, like, ‘Lord, I am way marrying out of my league.’ My goodness! Look at this beauty!”

But their fairytale story also raises unsettling questions the video doesn’t address: Would they have children? Would their offspring be more prone to being born with a disability? Who would care for the children?

“Sometimes I think in my mind ‘I want a baby so bad,’” Chloe says. She has a realistic doll that she treats as her baby. “This is Giselle. She represents what we want for the future.”

Both Chloe and Jason recognize their limitations. They say they are 80% independent, which means that 20% of their adult responsibilities are handled by care-givers, often family members.

In a world where abortion is pressed on parents when an ultrasound reveals a potential disability, in a world where government imposes decisions on private citizens in the name of the common good, some questions linger:

Who decides if they have kids? Should society try to prevent a child being born into a world where foster care is a strong possibility? Find out more: Should developmentally disabled couples have kids?

Lost his legs and arms, didn’t lose his spirit

A year after he lost his legs and arms to septic shock, Gary Miracle ran a 1.4-mile race on running blades.

“My doctor tells me all the time, ‘no feet, no excuses,’” Gary told The Epoch Times.

Although Gary had many reasons to sulk, he continues to live his life to the fullest.

Forty-year-old Gary Miracle did ministry for 12 years when he contracted a rare blood infection he thought was the flu but it progressed to septic shock. He spent 10 days in a coma at an Orlando hospital.

“I think they gave me a 1 to 7 percent chance to live through this,” Gary says.

On New Year’s Day his heart failed, and medical personnel took eight minutes to revive him. Gary was placed on an oxygenation machine, and the cardiovascular surgeon saved his life by diverting blood to his brain and torso at the expense of his limbs, which necrotized.

“My arms and legs were so cold,” Gary says. “They told me that I looked like a mummy; my hands and legs were pitch black. Then my muscles and my tendons started kind of falling out of my legs. I had no feeling down there.”

Gary is a husband and father of four kids. His wife, Kelly, posted scriptures all around his hospital room.

“My family just stepped up in a huge way, I was never left alone,” he says. “People were praying for me constantly.”

After 117 days in the hospital, Gary was discharged in April 2020. His lifeless limbs had been amputated. He is a quadruple amputee.

“When you go through something like that, there’s a line drawn in the sand: Am I gonna sit on the couch and throw a pity party?” he says. “Or am I going to choose to live and be alive and live for Christ and be a dad with my kids?” Read the rest: Gary Miracle lost his arms and legs but not hope.

Vitor Belfort found Christ through his sister’s kidnapping

Before Vitor Belfort KO’d Evander Holyfield, he got KO’d by life. Specifically, his sister’s kidnapping and reported rape and killing left him searching for answers and hopelessly embittered.

“There’s two ways to get to God, through pain or through love,” he says on an I am Second video. “Mine was through pain.”

Known as “the Phenom,” Vitor Belfort was the youngest fighter to win an Ultimate Fighting Championship bout at 19. The Brazilian-born Florida resident, 44, has fought in all kinds of matches, with boxing being his latest.

He knew about God from childhood. In his first official fight, he promised to serve God faithfully, if God permitted him to win. Once he triumphed, he promptly forgot his promise.

“As soon as I won the championship, I didn’t follow God right away,” he acknowledges.

At age 20, he suffered a neck injury. Doctors were grim. He would have to give up his beloved sport of fighting and find another career.

“I was crying, I was desperate,” he admits.

One day as he drove around in his fancy car he saw a legless man who got around on a skate. He was so struck by this beggar, he engaged in conversation.

“Many people that drive by here think I’m worthless because I don’t have any legs,” the beggar told him. “But I can guarantee you, Vitor, I’m happier than many people who drive by here in their big cars. I got Jesus and Jesus can transform your life.”

That was the moment that Vitor felt God talking to his heart.

“But even with that, I didn’t follow God,” he concedes.

With his wife, Joana Prado

It would take the kidnapping of his sister in 2004 to humble Vitor and bring him to repentance.

Priscila was taken, and the family didn’t know anything about her for three years. A woman who supposedly was taken captive herself to pay off drug debts, Elaine Paiva, confessed to helping drug dealers kidnap and kill Priscilla.

Information that his sister had been repeatedly raped by grisly murderers enraged Vitor.

“If you lost your husband, you’re a widow. If you lost your parent, you’re an orphan. But if you lost your child, we don’t have a name for that,” Vitor says. “It’s so painful. It’s so painful they don’t even have a name for that.” Read the rest to find out how Vitor Belfort overcame the bitterness of his sister’s kidnapping and came to Christ.

A father’s ‘curse of inheritance’ casts a long shadow over son, who only broke free through Jesus

As so often happens, Jason Rangel became the father he hated.

As a child, he once even called the cops on his drug-addicted, violent father.

“I seen my dad not in his right mind. I was scared,” he remembers on a 700 Club video. “My dad was in jail when I was going through puberty. I remember not having him there when I needed him.”

Jason’s aunt took him to church. He found stability, hope and sanity there. He even talked to God. But the demons of his childhood traumas pulled him away from God. In his 20s, he found self-value and meaning by pursuing girls.

“I really became sexual with females. I really just couldn’t get enough. I was having sex with my first girlfriend, and it progressed from there to the next girlfriend and the next girlfriend.”

After he got married, he continued having affairs and fathered two children. But because he was unfaithful to the mother of his children, she took the kids and left him, heading for California. He also was in and out of jail.

Back with his kids after getting right with Jesus.

“It was just a real tumultuous relationship. I was always unfaithful to her,” Jason says. “I just didn’t care about my children. I wasn’t a good father. I was caught up with the world, caught up with these guys that I was hanging out with.”

After he lost his kids, Jason got turned on to drugs by a coworker. “The loss of my kids affected me negatively,” he says. “I was struggling to cope. I was out of control.”

By now, he was married to another woman, which whom he had two addition children.

“I thought I was entitled to drinking and drugs and being unfaithful,” Jason says. “It was a chain reaction that got worse and worse through the years. When my kids were 9 or 10 years old, I remember them coming home, and I’d be high at the house.”

That’s when he… Read the rest: Father’s curse of inheritance

Asperger’s son went prodigal

When Graham Cottone was finally diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 10, it was a tremendous relief. Before that, his parents didn’t know what was wrong and they blamed themselves. He was constantly punished, made fun of, and friendless.

“He was hard. He was very, very hard to love,” Lore Cotton, his mother, says on a 700 Club Interactive video. “You love your children. They’re your children. We disciplined out of anger on several occasions. It was scary to think, ‘What are we doing? We’re spanking all the time.”

Graham’s behavior worsened beginning at age 12.

“It just was so overwhelming. I remember just going in my bedroom and being so exasperated,” Lore says. “I just fell down on my bed and just began sobbing.”

Out of her prayer that day, God impressed on her heart: Graham is going to get it.

Despite what Lore felt God impart, she didn’t see any encouraging signs. To the contrary, Graham went downhill fast.

At 13, he began using marijuana. He began cutting himself to relieve anxiety. He started fires in the house. He got into a physical fight with his dad, Lore recounts.

“He ran out and got a rock and he threw it and he hit me in the head,” says Michael Cottone, the father. They called 911, and the police intervened. Graham was arrested and jailed and placed under a restraining order to stay away from home.

“We know you’re going to let him come back,” the cops told the parents at the time. “But we’re not.”

Not long after, Graham experienced some sort of emotional breakdown and broken into a house in Texas.

He grew up in jail and mental hospitals.

“I wanted Graham to have peace and have joy,” Lore says.

Graham moved to Colorado, then hitchhiked to Oregon.

“We were actually on a vacation in Mexico,” Lore says. “Graham called us just half crazed, he was crying and screaming and mad because he had run out of all of his medications and he was at a hospital and they wouldn’t give him any more medications.”

Lore offered to wire him some money but said she couldn’t do much else.

“He got upset. He hung up on me,” Lore remembers. “Right before he hung up on me, he said, ‘I’m, going to hurt somebody.’”

Graham wouldn’t answer his phone and soon lost his phone. There was no way to get ahold of him.

“It felt really bad. It felt like the end,” she says. “All we could do was pray. I just told God, ‘He is yours. He’s always been yours. I want so badly to go rescue him, but I know you brought me here. You took me out of the way. I need to trust and let You do your thing.’”

After the vacation, Lore got a call from her son in Sacramento, California. He had hopped a freight train down from Portland with a group of vagabonds.

“I lost everything,” he said. “I knew I didn’t know anybody for thousands of miles, but I need God.”

“I had this vision of Hell,” Graham says. “It wasn’t a place where people were eternally tortured. It was this place where people just chose to do things their own way.” Read the rest: Asperger’s son went prodigal

Allyson Felix, Christian Olympian and mother

Allyson Felix, America’s most decorated Olympic runner, just qualified for her fifth Olympics and celebrated that awesome feat by having a mommy-daughter moment on the track.

“Guys, we’re going to Tokyo,” she said to her 2-year-old daughter Camryn, who met with another qualifier, Quanera Hayes,’ and her son Demetrius in front of cheering crowds after both runners burned through a 400 meter dash.

As a Christian, Allyson Felix has pushed back against a growing, secular, anti-mothering sentiment in our nation, that can be said to be iconized by Joe Biden’s recent budget that called mothers “birthing persons.”

Nike attempted to cut Allyson’s sponsorship deal by 70% when she got pregnant. Why? Because pregnant women can’t compete in track? Because they’re less attractive (according to some sexists) and therefore less marketable?

Whatever Nike’s reasoning, there is an obvious pressure on women to eschew having children that seems very much a part of the current social/political milieu of our country. According to this thinking, overpopulation is a grave concern and abortion is a huge remedy.

To her shame last January, actress Michelle Williams accepted her Golden Globe award and credited killing her fetus with enabling her to attain her professional goals. “I decided to start a family in 2018 knowing that pregnancy can be ‘the kiss of death’ in my industry,” she wrote in the New York Times.

Nike walked back the threatened pay cut and granted maternity privileges to its athletes only after a public outcry and congressional inquiry aimed at them.

So it was fitting that Felix — the athlete and Christian mother — would bring her cute toddler to the qualifiers in Oregon and take her to the Tokyo games later this summer.

“My faith is definitely the most important aspect of my life,” she says on an Athletes in Action website. “I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior at a very young age. Ever since then, I have continually been striving to grow in my relationship with God.” Read the rest: Allyson Felix motherhood spat with Nike

First drinking, then heroin, Josh Torbich found identity in substance abuse

Josh Torbich drank in an attempt to mask his insecurities.

“That inferiority complex seemed to slip away. I started to feel confident,” Josh says on a 700 Club video. “I set myself up to see the drink as the solution to fix the way that I felt, because it happened. Man, it was like the most immediate and effective solution that I ever had seen to fix that feeling that I had.”

As a young person growing up in Brunswick, Georgia, excess weight made him self-conscious. When friends introduced him to alcohol at age 13, the euphoria blanked out his feelings of inadequacy and a poor self-image.

“My life circled around, ‘where’s the party at?’” he says. “I started to become the go-to guy for alcohol and I felt like that was somebody that everyone was attracted to, that could quickly move in and out of popularity circles.”.

Because he was big, he could buy alcohol with a fake ID.

But he was living a double life. His parents were Christians who took him to church.

In his junior year of high school, the liquor wasn’t enough. He turned to painkillers, and their potency gave him an additional boost of self-confidence.

Of course, the gateway substance led to even more: during his senior year, he was a full-blown heroin addict.

“The first time that I shot up heroin and the rush came over me, it was like going back to when I was 13 years old,” Josh says. “It was new, it was exciting, and it was something that once again made me feel great.”

After high school, his friends went to jobs and college. Josh stayed at home with Mom and Dad and abused drugs. Read the rest: is there any hope for a drug addict?

Author of ‘Shout to the Lord,’ fought cancer

Hillsong worship leader Darlene Zschech had spent her life lifting spirits, but when breast cancer struck in 2013, she needed her own spirit lifted.

“What I found in my ‘valley of the shadow of death’ is the presence of God,” she says on a CBN video. “I realized you can only have shadow if there is light. It’s just a fact that God doesn’t leave us.”

Famous for her 1993 song “Shout to the Lord,” Darlene led worship at Hillsong Church from 1996 to 2007, after which she and her husband founded Hope Unlimited Church in 2011 in New South Wales Australia.

Amazingly, it is estimated that “Shout to the Lord” gets sung by 30 million church-goers every Sunday.

A television star from childhood, Darlene developed insecurities after her parents divorced when she was 13. As a result, she fell into bulimia for about four years.

“It took a long time for that (the wounds from the divorce) to heal,” Darlene says on SWCS Australia. “But now, I have got a real compassion for kids in that situation. It is now the rule, not the exception. Our next generation is definitely going to need answers. Divorce can definitely leave scars.”

When her dad returned to church, he took Darlene, who at 15 accepted Christ. She met and married Mark, and the couple worked as youth pastors in Brisbane. Mark felt called to Sydney, while Darlene didn’t want to go because she had just rekindled her relationship with her mom. Read the rest: Darlene Zschech cancer battle

Polycystic ovarian syndrome kept her from getting pregnant

Polycystic ovarian syndrome stopped Renelle Roberts from have a baby… for a while

Polycystic ovarian syndrome kept Renelle Roberts from her dream of becoming a mother and having babies.

“We tried fertility treatments. That didn’t work,” she says on a CBN video. “We tried adoption. That didn’t work. We tried foster care. That didn’t work.

“What’s going on?” she questioned. “There were days that I couldn’t even go to work because I was in bed just crying: Why can’t I have a child? What is wrong with me? Please help me. Please cure me.”

When Renelle hit the milestone of 30 years of age, she had plenty to ponder. On the one hand, her patience was growing thin with the wait. On the other, she recognized that possibly she was making having children into an idol.

“I told the Lord, ‘I want 30 to be my best year,’” she remembers. “I really had to submit though, whether I had children or not, because it had become an idol. Children are wonderful; they are a blessing. But for me it had become an obsession. That can get unbalanced.”

Renelle fasted and pledged to fast for as long as it took. Meanwhile, she got into some Bible studies that emphasized faith and believing.

In January, she turned 30. In March, she found out she was pregnant. Read the rest: polycystic ovarian syndrome

Jim Wahlberg broke out of drugs and crime to Jesus

Jim Wahlberg was the consummate hustler. In prison for hustling, he hustled the prison system — leading a 12-step program under the pretense of being reformed — just to earn an early release for good behavior.

“I was always a hustler, was always manipulative, just to get what I wanted, and I did whatever I had to get it,” Jim observes on a CBN video.

The older brother to Mark Wahlberg actually had no intention of changing his substance-abusing, robbery-financed lifestyle once he was out.

But then the hustler got hustled — by the prison priest.

The priest took an interest in him and tried to strike up conversations. Since Jim was doing janitorial work to earn brownie points with the correction officers, the priest asked him to clean the chapel after attending mass.

The trick worked. Jim began to read his Bible. When Mother Theresa came one day in 1988, he felt God.

“You’re more than the crimes that you’ve committed to be here,” she told the prisoners at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Concord. You’re more than your prison ID number. You are a child of God.’”

The fifth of nine kids born to a delivery driver dad and a bank clerk mom, Jim was shaped by the mean streets of Boston’s Irish working-class neighborhood of Dorchester. When he realized that middle class kids had more things than he did, he began stealing to even the score.

“I started taking things that didn’t belong to me, so that I could try to live up to the way they got to live,” he says.

His first arrest came at age 10. After release, he did the same things.

“I start drinking alcohol under the pretense of ‘I’m celebrating,’ right? But I wasn’t celebrating. I was medicating myself,” says Jim. “I would drink to try to get rid of the shame and those feelings of self-loathing. It’s all rooted in fear. Fear of what you think of me. Fear of not being good enough. I was trying to soothe that fear, that uncomfortability.”

One day, he woke up in a jail cell lying in his own blood. What was his luck? The house he had broken into belong to a police officer. For home invasion, he could get life in prison, but the cop advocated leniency at the hearing, and 17-year-old Jim got only six to nine years.

“I felt completely defeated and broken and I felt resigned to the fact that this was the way my life was gonna be forever,” says Jim.

That’s when he launched into the good behavior ruse to get an early release.

“It was part of that hustle. Just trying to create the illusion that I was getting better in prison,” says Jim. “And always thinking when I get out, I’ll use it again.”

The guile was so good that he even got to leading 12 step programs for prisoners trying to recover from substance abuse.

Then the priest moved in and showed genuine love and concern for Jim. He attended mass only to placate the priest who urged him to clean up the chapel afterwards (since Jim was doing janitorial work anyhow).

Jim had no idea who Mother Theresa was, so when the priest announced her coming visit, it didn’t mean a thing to Jim.

Nevertheless, the titan of charity in a small frame made an impact on Jim, who for the first time actually felt God.

“I felt the presence of God in my heart,” he remembers.

He felt prompted to pray: “God, help me to be the person that you want me to be. I can’t continue to be this person. Help me to be free of this life.”

But his fleeting experience didn’t completely transform him. When he was released, he maintained a semblance of respectability and reform but didn’t attend church. He married and worked as executive director to his brother Mark’s youth foundation.

“When you feel His presence and you walk away from it, there’s guilt, there’s shame, but there’s also sort of a sense that it’ll never happen for you again,” says Jim. Read the rest: Jim Wahlberg Christianity.

Manly man loved women — and men

Raised by a Gulf War veteran, Victor Bell became a hulking football star. Behind the wholesome manly image was a festering desire to be loved — like a woman is loved by a man.

“I felt that girls received more affection, they received more consideration,” Victor remembers thinking. “I didn’t get the hugs that my female cousins got, or the hugs that my sister got or the kisses on the forehead. With boys, I felt we were treated rough.”

Victor Bell was raised in a Christian home. But when he saw a soap opera on T.V. at five-years-old, he was fascinated by the love the girl on the program received.

“She’s loved. She’s getting affection, she’s getting care, she’s being treated with gentleness, with kindness,” he remembers thinking. “I want to feel what she feels. I want to be loved like she’s loved.”

This yearning planted in his heart led him to experiment with boys, craving their attention from a very young age.

“I jumped at the chance to be the girl playing house, or the woman playing doctor, or the girl nurse because it was an opportunity for me to reenact the soap opera scene,” he says frankly. “I have an imagination that creates these atmospheres of what it would be like to be loved like her. They were exciting adventures of discovery.”

Meanwhile at church, Victor didn’t feel loved.

“I knew about Hell. I knew about Heaven,” he says. “I didn’t care.”

Throughout middle school, high school and into college, Victor pursued sex with men and with women.

“That was my life,” he says. “I was having sex with a lot of girls. A muscular guy, football player, I’m having sex with men too. I drank, I smoked. I indulged in these activities to feel good all the time.

“I still felt empty,” he adds. “The space of emptiness was growing. So, I felt like I kept needing to fill it more with the activities I was indulging in.”

In 2008, Victor graduated from college and got a job as a long-term substitute teacher. He moved back in with his parents, trying to hide his gay party life from his parents.

After three years of chasing the illusion of love, Victor came home drunk from a New Year’s Eve party in 2011.Read the rest: Victor Bell wanted to be loved like a woman

Nubain was the perfect way to ease the soreness after workout

The opioid Nubain took away muscular pain for Jason Biddle, and so he could push himself in his quest for greater fitness.

It was a handy weight-lifting tool to push past the soreness until Nubain use degenerated into full blown addiction.

At one point he found himself on the side of the road wishing for a DUI to stop the substance abuse. “I need a DUI. I need – whatever it is,” Jason remembers on a CBN video. “I’m willing to accept the consequences because I can’t stop.

“God, I can’t stop,” he said. “I’m going to wreck my marriage; I’m going to wreck my family.”

As a kid in Minnesota, Jason Biddle was all about baseball, but an injury kept him from going pro.

So he got into construction work. He was making tens of thousands a week.

“Money became my new love,” he says. “I could spend it on whatever I wanted, you know, frivolously.”

He drank a lot. He worked out constantly. To ease the muscle soreness, he discovered Nubain, a moderate injectable pain reliever that helped him “recover” quickly between sessions at the gym.

“One time I actually hit a vein with it,” he remembers. “It was the best high I’d ever had.”

The rush overwhelmed him. Soon he quit the gym for the straight shoot up.

He met Britney, a cute girl with whom he wanted a serious relationship.

She ignored his drug habit initially. But one day she caught him shooting up in the bathroom.

She threatened to leave him. He promised to change. They were on-again, off-again. In the meantime, a small family was starting.

The cycle of making and violating promises started to break with an invitation to church from Britney, who wanted to learn more about Jesus.

The power of the Word and the Spirit caused Jason to give his heart to Jesus that night.

“I remember just something came over me and I raised my hand,” he recalls thinking after the pastor had invited people to accept Jesus. “I knew that I wanted that.” Read the rest: Jason Biddle overcame drug addiction to sing for Jesus.

Ed Mylett, $400M entrepreneur, Christian

Ed Mylett lost the game for his eighth-grade basketball team. But first he lost his shorts.

He lost his shorts when the whole team pulled down their sweats for warmups. He ran through the layup line and only after missing the hoop realized he was also missing his shorts. In fact, all he had on was a jock strap (he was going to a baseball camp in the evening).

The entire auditorium erupted. His coach and team formed a circle around him and escorted Ed out to find some shorts. The shy kid who only played basketball because his dad forced him was so shaken that when he was fouled in the last seconds of the championship game, he missed two free throws that would’ve given his team the victory.

It was the worst day of his life, but surprisingly, it became the best day of his life.

In the evening at baseball camp, Eddie was slugging balls into middle field when none other than Rod Carew spotted Ed and offered to mentor him. The encounter with Carew instilled confidence that allowed Ed to eventually play college baseball.

While a freak accident kept him from MLB, Ed, became successful as a life strategist consulted by athletes and celebrities. He’s also a social media influencer.

Ed’s journey to Christ and outsized success began in Diamond Bar, CA, where he grew up in a small home with an alcoholic father, who he worried might turn violent at any time. Ed’s childhood mishaps are now the subject matter of his motivation speeches.

In addition to the missing shorts story, Ed tells of “Ray Ray,” the “punk” neighbor kid who got the whole school to taunt him with “Eddie, spaghetti, your meatballs are ready.”

Ray Ray was a bully and his next-door neighbor, he recounted at a World Financial Group convention.

One day after getting licked like always by Ray Ray, seven-year-old Eddie went home to cry to Mom, who hugged him and consoled him.

But when gruff Dad heard the crying and clomped out, he ordered Eddie to go over and beat up Ray Ray immediately. Failure to do so would result in going to bed without dinner.

Scared, Eddie knocked on the door of the tattooed, shirtless dad of Ray Ray.

“Big Ray, my daddy says I have to come over here and kick Ray Ray’s butt or I can’t come home for dinner,” he said, terrified. Maybe he hoped Big Ray would exercise parental wisdom and pan the fight, but that’s not the kind of dad Big Ray was.

“I like that kind of party,” Ray Ray’s dad said. “Let’s get it.”

He immediately called his son: “Ray Ray, little Eddie here wants another piece.”

So with Eddie quaking, the boys squared up. He had never beaten Ray Ray.

Ray Ray lunged at him.

“By some force of sheer blessing of God, I got this little dude in a headlock and I’m, giving him noogies,” Ed remembers. “I didn’t really know how to hit him, but I was noogying the hell out of this kid’s head.”

Finally Big Ray pulled them apart. “He got you,” he told his son and ordered both to shake.

Eddie went home to eat. What else? Spaghetti.

It was a story of facing your fears and overcoming difficult challenges.

But there’s one more detail to the story. Eddie was 7 while Ray Ray was 4.

His mom, he related, had heard him tell the anecdote once omitting the age difference and insisted he should be more forthcoming.

“Why is that even relevant?” Read the Rest: Ed Mylett Christian

As if he were a piñata

For his dad, Tim Lasebnik was a pinata.

He beat him repeatedly as if he was trying to tear out his insides.

“Dad was just an angry man,” Tim says on a 100 Huntley Street video. “I guess I was his pinata. When Dad lost his cool, there was just no filter. There was no off button. He was truly brutal.”

After being beaten and then locked in the furnace room in the dark for hours, 11-year-old Tim resolved to run away. He packed his little suitcase and the next day instead of going to school he went to a nearby township in Canada.

He was hoping to be adopted by a family or live in a commune, but instead he was preyed upon by a pedophile. The predator pretended to call some nurses who agreed to take him in. Instead, he took Tim to his apartment and raped him brutally.

Those two wounds — the physical and sexual abuse — became his deep, dark secret that was too painful to talk or even think about.

As he matured, Tim turned to drugs to silence the screams in his head. He fell into Rochdale College’s 1968 cooperative experiment in student housing and free college, but it degenerated into a haven for drugs, crime and suicide.

“I was doing everything I could to medicate the pain that I was feeling from my wounds: drugs, alcohol, sex, everything, and I became a drug dealer,” he says. “Rochdale is where I would go to get my drugs.”

One day, his supplier informed he could no longer provide the drugs he needed to sell and consume.

“Why?” Tim asked.

“Because I found the Lord and I’m not doing that anymore,” he responded.

His response was completely off radar for Tim, so he agreed to go to church and see what it was all about.

It was 1972, and St. Paul’s Anglican Church was experiencing revival among the students. The movement was called the Catacombs, named after the underground hideaway of First Century Christians, where they could worship without harassment from Roman persecutors. Thursday night service attracted upwards of 2,000, and Tim went home afterward and fell to his knees.

“I asked Jesus into my heart,” Tim remembers. “And there was a change in me.”

But the wounds were deep and rejuvenation not easy, so he quit Christianity.

Tim didn’t just walk away. First, he prayed.

“One thing I ask,” he said to the Lord, “is that day when I stand before You on Judgment Day, please remember that I gave it my best shot.”

He let go of God. God never let go of him.

Years later, he was married with a 3-year-old son and stepdaughter. He was visiting his brother-in-law at Lake Aquitaine, talking, sharing, eating. They lost track of time when his stepdaughter ran in frantically.

“I’ll never see my brother again!” she screamed.

“Where’s your brother?” Tim asked panicked.

“He is drowned in the lake…”

Barefoot, Tim ran out into the frigid March waters.

He arrived as a stranger was coming out of the water with Tim’s son in his arms.

Tim grabbed the child, carried him to shore and tried to administer CPR. The child had been underwater for five minutes. There was no response.

“I cry out to God, ‘Please don’t take my son. I’ll do anything,” he pleaded.

Continuing in his attempt to revive him, Tim managed to expel not only water but also seaweed from inside.

Eventually… Read the rest: Beaten like a piñata, child grew up with pain

Rod Carew gave out of his heart, then one of the youths he mentored gave him his heart

Ed Mylett was still smarting from a humiliating performance at the basketball championship game earlier in the day. That evening, he was hitting line drives — his true love – into center field.

He was holding and swinging the bat flat and choppy like his hero, baseball legend Rod Carew, when he heard a voice from behind the backstop. “Who’s the little lefty? I like this kid’s swing.”

Ed glanced back. It was #29 himself, Rod Carew, MLB’s hitting maestro for 19 seasons. Ed was flabbergasted.

“Hey, kid, how would you like me to work with you and train you? Can you make it to my batting cages every Tuesday night?”

Wilting before his hero, Ed struggled to find the words. Yes, yes, yes. He would be there.

In the following months, Rod altruistically gave of himself and mentored 8th-grader Ed Mylett, as he did selflessly with hundreds of other talented young people throughout Southern California. Not only did he provide technical expertise, but he also spoke words of confidence into the kids’ lives.

Rod is a born-again Christian. His generosity eventually proved the Bible’s admonition, “Give, and it will be given you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be put into your lap.” (Luke 6:38)

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One of those hundreds of kids saved Rod’s life, Ed says on his Aug. 24, 2017 Elite Training Library video.

In September 2015, Rod suffered a massive heart attack on a golf course. Golfing by himself, he was on the first hole at the time. He drove his golf cart to the clubhouse and someone called paramedics. Read how the kid he mentored blessed Rod Carew with a heart.

Egg-sized brain tumors didn’t kill him

The parents of Jason Ong assumed he would wind up in jail or dead because he was such a poorly behaved boy, fighting and often getting into trouble. But God had other plans and purposes for his life.

Jason met the one true living God when his dad was dying. By his father’s bedside, Jason prayed to nearly all the gods he had ever heard of and nothing happened.

But when he invoked the powerful name of Jesus, Dad opened his eyes.

“Later on, there’ll be somebody in white.” he told his dad while his eyes were open. “He will stretch out his hand, so you can just take his hand and follow him, and you’ll be safe.”

Jason didn’t know what he was saying, but his dad closed his eyes and passed peacefully. Later Jason realized he had spoken prophetically, and the Good Shepherd, Jesus, had opened heaven’s door to his father.

“Jesus, You know that You saved my dad, so I owe You my life,” he said.

Jason went to church. That’s where he met Judith, a divorced mom with a special needs daughter, Joelle.

“We somehow knew that we are supposed to be together, so we prayed about it,” Jason says.

Two years into his marriage, he began experiencing dizziness and pain in his head, so he went to the doctor. The prognosis: an extremely rare brain tumor. It was so rare that there were no drugs and no protocols for treatment.

“Suddenly everything just went to darkness,” he says.

The surgeon removed 90% of it, leaving the optic nerves and main artery with a vestige of the tumor so he could still see, eat and not die from a broken artery. It was 2004.

The doctor told Jason he had six months to live.

The news was discouraging, but Jason and Judith decided to make the best of it. They decided to dedicate 100% of their efforts towards the Lord’s service. They launched a street food vendor business, working 12 hours a day, with profits destined for orphanages around Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Myanmar and the Philippines. The proceeds from the business allowed them to contribute to the care of 600 kids.

After six months, Jason showed up to see the doctor. He was surprised to see Jason alive.

The title of Jason’s testimony video is “If Tomorrow Never Comes” on the Hope Singapore channel.

Jason outlived the six-month prognosis. In 2007, the cancer flared up again. His new doctor said it was absolutely necessary to remove all the affected areas, including the nerves to his mouth and eyes. He would be blind. He would feed through a tube. And devastatingly for Jason, he would not be able to speak.

Jason declined the surgery. He needed to speak because his life’s purpose was to preach in the orphanages to the children about the good news of Jesus. He would rather die than lose his ability to preach.

“So there wasn’t an option for me because I still have to continue in the ministry and I said, If I cannot speak, that means I cannot share the gospel, I cannot teach, I cannot preach. So what is the point?” he says.

The doctor was grim, telling him: You don’t need to come back. You’re going to die. The cancer will eventually cause your brain to explode.

He took pain medications and kept hawking food on the street. He kept visiting orphanages with his wife and preaching.

“My encouragement to all the Christians was, ‘Even though I’m going to die, I still choose to stand and say God is good. I still choose to say: Jesus is my Lord,’” he relates.

By 2013, Jason sensed he was going to die. For his “last” birthday, he asked his wife to visit the orphanage once last time.

By 2014, he was bedridden and partially paralyzed. “Jesus, I’m coming home,” he declared.

But one night, Jesus spoke to him in a dream: I’m moved by the tears of your wife. I’m going to heal you.

Days later, he called the doctor to reorder morphine for the pain, and the doctor, a Christian and a medical professor, told him to come in. He got new scans and proposed another surgery. He would save the eye nerve, the voice nerve and the artery. He believed God would help him.

“It’s so amazing that you are still able to talk and sitting in front of me because looking at the scan, it has now grown to the size of two eggs,” the doctor told him. “One in the brain and one outside the cranium. Technically, it is supposed to have pushed your brain out of the brain cavity already. Or you should just get a coma or stroke and die. The fact that you are still alive and talking to me is a miracle.”

When Jason woke up from the surgery, he felt intense pain, couldn’t see or breathe.

“After 10 years of fighting cancer, that was my lowest point,” he says. “I just felt so tired.”

“I think I’m not gonna make it,” he told Judith. “Release me. I wanna go home.” Read the rest: Healed from brain tumors.

After cancer diagnosis, Jewish woman remembers vision of Jesus

After Shiri Joshua was told she had a rare, virulent form of breast cancer (already at stage 3) she faced a stark choice one Friday afternoon. Would she start chemo or undergo a mastectomy on the following Monday?

“I honestly didn’t even comprehend those words,” Shiri says on a 100 Huntley Street video.

An Israel-born Jew, she moved to Toronto at 19, but her family continued to speak Hebrew at home. She always had an inquisitiveness about spiritually. Due to her upbringing, she thought she could only be either orthodox or a secular Jew.

But after she moved to Canada, she fell under the spell of the New Age movement.

“I really did not feel that my traditional Jewish upbringing would satisfy what I wanted,” she says. “I knew there was a God, I just did not know Him.”

Two years prior to her diagnosis, she had a vision. She had heard about Jesus but felt she needed to avoid Jesus because of her Jewish background. But in her search for spirituality one day, she asked God if Jesus was real.

“I was in my bedroom not sleeping and I saw Him. I had an open-eye vision of the Jewish Jesus. He looked very Jewish to me,” Shiri recalls. “God in his brilliant way of doing things appeared to me in a way that I would not find threatening. He appeared to me with a talit, a prayer shawl.

“And he said, ‘Come to me.’ His eyes were just love. It must have been a split second, but it felt like eternity.”

So, in the cancer clinic in British Columbia, after the doctor left the room, she fell to her knees and prayed to Jesus.

“Lord I’m tired of fighting You. If I die, I die, but I want to come to You,” she said. “But if you let me live, I will live for You.

She gave her life to Yeshua/Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, and was born again. “A wave of peace came upon me. I wanted Him so much but I was so afraid because I was Jewish.”

Without delay, she underwent the mastectomy and started chemotherapy. She moved back to Toronto to be with her family. A friend brought a pastor to visit her and she received Jesus into her heart. Six rounds of chemotherapy took six months.

She moved in with her parents and was a secret believer for a while. Read the rest: a vision of Jesus helped heal cancer

The Christian Church in Turkey: how one man started the first church in Antalya

A Muslim extremist tried to kill Ramazan Arkan in Antalya Evangelical Church, the only Christian church in Turkey’s fifth largest city.

“One nationalist guy, he came to our church service to assassinate me and he was planning to kill me, but we had police protection during that time,” Ramazan says in a Stefanus video. “Police realized that guy was there and they arrested him and they put him in jail.

“After that, police thought that behind this guy there is some group that wants me to be dead. When I was single, I didn’t care very much. But now I am married; I have two kids. When you face persecution and when you know that there are people that want to kill you, that is scary. Sometimes I feel scared and sometimes I feel worried.”

There’s a price to pay for converting to Christianity from a Muslim background in Turkey. Sometimes your family disowns you. Sometimes you can’t find a job because of religious discrimination. When the church first opened, Muslims threw stones at it, Ramazan says.

But the 200 Christians who attend Antalya Evangelical Church remain undaunted.

The only thing Ramazan knew about Christianity was what the Muslim propagandists had told him, for example, the Bible was corrupted and unreliable.

So, when a co-worker came out as Christian, Ramazan was curious to ask for himself.

“I was a member of one of the conservative Islamic groups,” he says. “I practiced my faith five times in a day, and I was a very serious, devout Muslim. I never met any Christians until that time, and then we start to talk about Christianity, he told me a lot of things about Christianity. I was shocked by what he told me because what I had learned all those years from my society about Christianity, everything was wrong.”

At the time, there wasn’t a single church in Antalya, a city of 2 million and a resort destination on the Turkish Riviera. So Ramazan started one in the year 2000.

“Jesus changed my mind and he changed my life,” Ramazan says “Now my goal is to serve Him. I’m pastoring this church, I’m teaching and preaching. But most of my time is more like spending time with people, and there are a lot of visitors that they are coming and visiting our church during the weekdays and I usually sit with them and talk to them hours and hours, because Turkish people are very much interested in spiritual stuff.”

Order up a Turkish coffee and while away the time with Christian apologetics.

Alper Gursu was one of the Turks who engaged in long conversations with Pastor Ramazan about spirituality. Today, he is one of the leaders of the church.

“I had dozens of questions, like is the Bible real? Because I heard that’s changed,” Alper says. “So he started explaining that starting from the third century and the Nicene council he explained to me all the history. He gave me this circle of evidence. All my questions were being answered.”

Pastor Ramazan gave Alper a Bible, and he started reading and ended up getting saved.

Melis Samur is now one of the worship leaders. She got into God because she liked architecture and studied churches. When she found one in her city, she begged her parents to let her go.

“It was a really peaceful, really really beautiful place,” Melissa says. “They got really upset at me. They were like, ‘Why do you need another religion?’”

Eventually, her insistence ,,, Read the rest: Christian church in Turkey.

‘America’s most self-loathing homosexual’

He’s been called “America’s most self-loathing homosexual,” but Doug Mainwaring, who struggled with same-sex attraction, was just trying to do the best thing for his kids and for the nation.

“I was living as a gay man at the time and I began to write about the need to maintain the definition of marriage,” Mainwaring says on a Ruth Institute video. “President Obama had just come out that he had evolved on the issue. It was suddenly becoming front and center in the national debate.”

His 2012 piece, “The Myth of the Same-Sex Marriage Mandate,” caused a commotion.

While he was sounding the alarm, writing and speaking on major media platforms about his concerns for his family and America, he was dating men.

Recently divorced and resentful about the dissolution, Mainwaring was indulging a same-sex attraction he had felt but never acted upon. But as he wrote, he began to see that he needed to fix more than just the nation. He needed to fix himself!

He was married in 1985 and adopted two boys. He told his fiancé of his attractions to men, but had never acted on the attraction.

In the late 1990s, his marriage fell apart.

“It remains the saddest moment of my life,” he says. “I knew I was same-sex attracted going into our marriage. I had been aware of that since I was a boy. I can understand when people say they were born that way because I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t same-sex attracted.”

His marriage had been a dream: kids, home, picket fence, dogs. When the dream ended like a nightmare, he decided to indulge his homosexual tendencies.

“I thought, ‘Dang it, I’m going to go check this out,’” he says. “I was just being selfish. And in a sense it was retaliatory.”

He answered ads, which is what you did in the late ‘90s. “I went and started meeting guys. I didn’t do anything. We just met for coffee or lunch. Eventually I did have a few relationships.”

Mainwaring was apolitical. But then Obama publicly affirmed his support for letting abortion survivors die on the operating table.

“That was a riveting moment for me,” he says. “That was when I got radicalized to a degree, especially since our children are adopted, I was well aware they could have been aborted.”

When the Tea Party movement launched with conservatives on the East Coast, he got on board. As he saw the media only slander the Tea Party, he began writing to dispel the media’s attempt to demonize it. He captured attention and was offered a chance to write for the Washington Examiner.

“But I quickly realized that our problem wasn’t fiscal in nature, but it was society,” he says. “As I began to write about social issues, I began to start looking at my own life. I couldn’t write about the importance of family life without doing something about my own family.”

He had been separated for more than a decade.

“I realized I’d better try to do something to put my marriage back together,” he says. “The evidence was everywhere screaming at me, ‘Doug, you need to put your life together.’”

His youngest son was beginning to act up at school. He was biting other kids and falling into disproportionately huge rages. He sat with his ex-wife to discuss how to respond.

“One day I realized, he’s not to blame. We’re to blame,” he narrates. “We took away his happy home and placed on him our stress on his shoulders and this was the result of it.” Read the rest: Homosexual opposes gay marriage